Making a Difference in the Schools Comprising an estimated 55% of ASHA-certified speech-language pathologists and 10% of ASHA-certified audiologists, the more than 50,000 clinicians who work in school settings face unique challenges. They have communicated their interests, concerns, and needs to ASHA through many vehicles, including Executive Board members, Legislative Councilors, National Office staff, special interest ... School Matters
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School Matters  |   September 01, 2002
Making a Difference in the Schools
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School-Based Settings / School Matters
School Matters   |   September 01, 2002
Making a Difference in the Schools
The ASHA Leader, September 2002, Vol. 7, 1-25. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM2.07162002.1
The ASHA Leader, September 2002, Vol. 7, 1-25. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM2.07162002.1
Comprising an estimated 55% of ASHA-certified speech-language pathologists and 10% of ASHA-certified audiologists, the more than 50,000 clinicians who work in school settings face unique challenges. They have communicated their interests, concerns, and needs to ASHA through many vehicles, including Executive Board members, Legislative Councilors, National Office staff, special interest division listservs, State Education Advocacy Leaders (SEALs), and ASHA’s 2000 Schools Survey. Several clear messages have come through: School-based clinicians are burdened by large caseloads and time-consuming paperwork. They are frustrated by inadequate facilities and low salaries. They struggle to understand layers of federal, state, and local mandates and policies as they make clinical decisions. And many are seeking to more clearly define their roles in literacy initiatives. Above all, they are committed to making a difference in the lives of the children they serve.
ASHA’s challenge is to respond to these needs and concerns that, for the most part, are influenced or directly dictated by state and local practices and policies. Through the Focused Initiative for School-Based Programs and Services, ASHA has implemented a full-scale, multi-faceted plan to strategically address these issues from several fronts:
  • ASHA policy and technical assistance

  • national and state liaisons

  • financial and staff resources to support state-level initiatives

  • tools for federal, state, and local advocacy and clinical practice

This approach has been implemented through several strategies during 2001–2002, with plans underway for additional strategies in 2003.
To address caseload, ASHA updated its policy documents, developing a position statement, guidelines, and technical report on “A Workload Analysis Approach for Establishing Speech-Language Caseload Standards in the Schools.” (For more on these policy documents, see page 12.)
To assist with paperwork reduction and management, a technical assistance manual, “Lighten Your Load: Strategies to Reduce Paperwork for School-Based SLPs,” is now available. And a technical report regarding facilities needed for speech-language-hearing programs in the schools is in progress.
ASHA’s State Education Action Team supports targeted state speech-language-hearing associations with their legislative efforts to reduce caseload/workload or to increase school salaries. The team is working with Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia, and is exploring partnerships with other states. ASHA’s State Advocacy Guidebook for the Salary Supplement Initiative also was updated as part of this strategy, and liaison activities are underway with key national and state professional organizations and educational agencies—as well as state speech-language-hearing associations.
Grants were awarded last year to six state associations to help them implement ASHA practice policy on caseload/workload issues, implement IDEA at the state and/or local levels, or support salary supplement activities. Additional grants will be offered this year, based on a recent competition.
To assist with literacy efforts, five Functional Communication Measures have been developed related to reading and writing skills for K –6 children who are part of the National Outcomes Measurement System project. A skills and knowledge document has been completed and approved, completing the family of documents on “The Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists With Respect to Reading and Writing in Children and Adolescents.”
To assist with literacy efforts, five Functional Communication Measures have been developed related to reading and writing skills for K –6 children who are part of the National Outcomes Measurement System project. A skills and knowledge document has been completed and approved, completing the family of documents on “The Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists With Respect to Reading and Writing in Children and Adolescents.”
For more information on the schools focused initiative, visit ASHA’s Web site. Kathleen Whitmire is ASHA’s director of school services. Charlie Diggs is ASHA’s director of state and consumer advocacy.
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September 2002
Volume 7, Issue 16